Jump to content
Linguaholic

Weird Spellings


Recommended Posts

Which English words do you find to have the weirdest spellings?

My pick would be colonel, for example. Whenever I come across it, I can't help but mistakenly reading it as ko-lo-nel first before realizing it and correcting it, and this really does happen to me often as I always try and remind myself not to make the same mistake next time but it always does. It really makes me wish they would just correct it but of course I'm not too serious about that.

Anyone else have some other examples?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about other languages but the english language sure has some weird spelling words. Some that comes to mind now are quite simple ones such as alibi, business, notice and through. As a child they did get me and so I learnt quickly not to forget the spelling of these words.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Uhm, none come to my mind right now. I guess that happens because I'm getting more and more familiar with the english language, I actually feel very confident using it. I rarely have to second guess when using a word or a phrase, unlike when I had just started using the language. Back then I thought a lot words had weird spellings, like for example ''wheeze''. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

I am a native English speaker but I hate the way some words are spelt, as it seems like it implies a certain way of saying the word, but the actual pronunciation is different! Take archive, for example. For 16 years of my life, I thought it was pronounced 'ar-chiv', with a ch sound, but it's actually pronounced 'ar-kive'! Who would've known? I also find it annoying that America has different spelling for a lot of words. Why can't we all just write and spell the same way?!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a non-native English speaker, one of the stranger words I had learned was "salmon". I read and pronounced it how it was spelled, "sal-mon". No one corrected me, so I assumed that it was right. It was not until I was in fifth grade that my friend's mom looked surprised and said that salmon was pronounced, "sah-mon". I checked online and to my great disbelief and embarrassment, she was right. I had been pronouncing the name of one little fish wrong for almost two years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a couple of words that I think has a weird spelling. First is the word "Wednesday." I just find it weird because when you say it, it should sound like "wens-day." Also, I find the word "Queue" weird. It's quite funny, I've never really remembered how to spell it correctly (I had to google the correct spelling before I can post it here).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a native English speaker but I hate the way some words are spelt, as it seems like it implies a certain way of saying the word, but the actual pronunciation is different! Take archive, for example. For 16 years of my life, I thought it was pronounced 'ar-chiv', with a ch sound, but it's actually pronounced 'ar-kive'! Who would've known? I also find it annoying that America has different spelling for a lot of words. Why can't we all just write and spell the same way?!

Wow!, I thought I was the only one with that problem , for a long time I pronounced it the same way that you did, later on ,someone corrected me and I was shocked.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even for native English speakers, there are certain words which are spelled in one way but are pronounced in another.  Rendezvous, for instance, is pronounced ran-day-vou.  Chive is pronounced tsaive, but its pronounciation changes when the word itself changes, such as adding the prefix ar- to chive, giiving archive (pronounced ar-kaive).  My English tutor said that if the pronounciation sounds funny, it is definitely wrong.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This link lists some words that are weirdly spelled: http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/13076/11-weirdly-spelled-words%E2%80%94and-how-they-got-way

And in my opinion, I think "knead" and "island" and the weirdest ones, since "hors d'oeuvres" is a French word, so it doesn't really count for me.

This is an interesting link. :)

I do not have any specific  English word in mind that has weird spelling for me. Maybe those scientific words that sounds really different or hard to spell.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

This is an interesting link. :)

I do not have any specific  English word in mind that has weird spelling for me. Maybe those scientific words that sounds really different or hard to spell.

Ah yes, I think those scientific words top the list of the weirdest words or spellings ever. I wonder who came up with such names. They made it hard for us to memorize them when we were still studying!

Just look at them. They're a drag to read:

Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes

Agalychnis callidryas - Red-eyed tree frog

Ailuropoda melanoleuca - Giant panda

Alces americanus - American moose

Amblyrhynchus cristatus - Marine iguana

Amphibia - Amphibians

Animalia - Animals

Anser indicus - Bar-headed goose

Anseriformes - Waterfowl

Antilocapra americana - Pronghorn

Anura - Frogs and toads

Aplysia californica - California sea hare

Archilochus colubris - Ruby-throated hummingbird

Arthropoda - Arthropoods

Artiodactyla - Even-toed ungulates

Aves - Birds

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Well, the scientific words were taken from Latin and Greek, so yes, to other languages, they might seem weird, but the spelling is done according to Latin rules, so it really isn´t :)

Colonel is a good example of an oddly spelled word, especially as you don´t hear the "l" sound in the middle of the word. Lieutenant is also a little odd (French, is it? Or not?) I believe the earlier pronunciation was lef´ten.nt before it changed to lu´ten.nt (I couldn´t mark schwa so I put a little dot in its place).

But, if you REALLY want to see some odd words, check this out:

It´s a poem called "Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité:

Dearest creature in creation

Studying English pronunciation,

  I will teach you in my verse

  Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,

Make your head with heat grow dizzy;

  Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;

  Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,

Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

  Just compare heart, hear and heard,

  Dies and diet, lord and word.

Sword and sward, retain and Britain

(Mind the latter how it's written).

  Made has not the sound of bade,

  Say-said, pay-paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you

With such words as vague and ague,

  But be careful how you speak,

  Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via

Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;

  Woven, oven, how and low,

  Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:

Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

  Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,

  Missiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing,

Same, examining, but mining,

  Scholar, vicar, and cigar,

  Solar, mica, war and far.

From "desire": desirable-admirable from "admire",

Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,

  Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,

  Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

One, anemone, Balmoral,

Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.

  Gertrude, German, wind and wind,

  Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,

Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.

  This phonetic labyrinth

  Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured

To pronounce revered and severed,

  Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,

  Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;

Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.

  Blood and flood are not like food,

  Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,

Which exactly rhymes with khaki.

  Discount, viscount, load and broad,

  Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?

Right! Your pronunciation's OK.

  Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,

  Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Is your r correct in higher?

Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.

  Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,

  Buoyant, minute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,

Now: position and transition;

  Would it tally with my rhyme

  If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,

But cease, crease, grease and greasy?

  Cornice, nice, valise, revise,

  Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,

Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,

  You'll envelop lists, I hope,

  In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You'll have it!

Affidavit, David, davit.

  To abjure, to perjure. Sheik

  Does not sound like Czech but ache.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,

Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.

  We say hallowed, but allowed,

  People, leopard, towed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,

Between mover, plover, Dover.

  Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,

  Chalice, but police and lice,

Camel, constable, unstable,

Principle, disciple, label.

  Petal, penal, and canal,

  Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit

Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",

  But it is not hard to tell

  Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,

Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

  Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,

  Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour

Has the a of drachm and hammer.

  Pussy, hussy and possess,

  Desert, but desert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants

Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.

  Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,

  Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

"Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker",

Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor",

  Making, it is sad but true,

  In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,

Neither does devour with clangour.

  Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,

  Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,

Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.

  Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,

  Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,

Make the latter rhyme with eagle.

  Mind! Meandering but mean,

  Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,

You say mani-(fold) like many,

  Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,

  Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring

Rhyme with herring or with stirring?

  Prison, bison, treasure trove,

  Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald

Rhymes (but piebald doesn't) with nibbled.

  Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,

  Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don't be down, my own, but rough it,

And distinguish buffet, buffet;

  Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,

  Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling

Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.

  Evil, devil, mezzotint,

  Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention

To such sounds as I don't mention,

  Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,

  Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,

Though I often heard, as you did,

  Funny rhymes to unicorn,

  Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,

I don't want to speak of Cholmondeley.

  No. Yet Froude compared with proud

  Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,

Tripod, menial, denial,

  Troll and trolley, realm and ream,

  Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely

May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,

  But you're not supposed to say

  Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid

Worthless documents? How pallid,

  How uncouth he, couchant, looked,

  When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,

Paramour, enamoured, flighty,

  Episodes, antipodes,

  Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don't monkey with the geyser,

Don't peel 'taters with my razor,

  Rather say in accents pure:

  Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,

Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,

  Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,

  Wan, sedan and artisan.

The th will surely trouble you

More than r, ch or w.

  Say then these phonetic gems:

  Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,

There are more but I forget 'em-

  Wait! I've got it: Anthony,

  Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit

Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;

  With and forthwith, one has voice,

  One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;

Then say: singer, ginger, linger.

  Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,

  Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Hero, heron, query, very,

Parry, tarry fury, bury,

  Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,

  Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,

Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners

  Holm you know, but noes, canoes,

  Puisne, truism, use, to use?

Though the difference seems little,

We say actual, but victual,

  Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,

  Put, nut, granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,

Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

  Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,

  Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,

Science, conscience, scientific;

  Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,

  Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,

Next omit, which differs from it

  Bona fide, alibi

  Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,

Psalm, Maria, but malaria.

  Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,

  Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,

Dandelion with battalion,

  Rally with ally; yea, ye,

  Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,

Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

  Never guess-it is not safe,

  We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

Starry, granary, canary,

Crevice, but device, and eyrie,

  Face, but preface, then grimace,

  Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,

Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;

  Ear, but earn; and ere and tear

  Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the o of off and often

Which may be pronounced as orphan,

  With the sound of saw and sauce;

  Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?

Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.

  Respite, spite, consent, resent.

  Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,

Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

  Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,

  Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

A of valour, vapid vapour,

S of news (compare newspaper),

  G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,

  I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,

Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.

  Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,

  Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-

Is a paling, stout and spiky.

  Won't it make you lose your wits

  Writing groats and saying "grits"?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel

Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,

  Islington, and Isle of Wight,

  Housewife, verdict and indict.

Don't you think so, reader, rather,

Saying lather, bather, father?

  Finally, which rhymes with enough,

  Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup...

My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

I am a native English speaker but I hate the way some words are spelt, as it seems like it implies a certain way of saying the word, but the actual pronunciation is different! Take archive, for example. For 16 years of my life, I thought it was pronounced 'ar-chiv', with a ch sound, but it's actually pronounced 'ar-kive'! Who would've known? I also find it annoying that America has different spelling for a lot of words. Why can't we all just write and spell the same way?!

I feel so relieved to hear that!!! To know also you guys make that kind of mistakes, not only us people who have English as their second language. By the way, up until now I also thought it was ''ar-chiv'' not ''ar-kive'', that is so odd :P  This is the first time I hear about this word being pronounced this way.  English never ceases to surprise me :P

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I've always had two words I thought were weird (I also find the word weird odd to spell)

1. Wednesday- how are we supposed to derive the spelling from the common pronunciation? Why did they add a d after the n? Just very odd to me.

2. atheist- for some reason I always feel like it should be aetheist, which I know is completely wrong, but it's something I have always had trouble with.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

 

Ah yes, I think those scientific words top the list of the weirdest words or spellings ever. I wonder who came up with such names. They made it hard for us to memorize them when we were still studying!

 

Just look at them. They're a drag to read:

 

Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes

Agalychnis callidryas - Red-eyed tree frog

Ailuropoda melanoleuca - Giant panda

Alces americanus - American moose

Amblyrhynchus cristatus - Marine iguana

Amphibia - Amphibians

Animalia - Animals

Anser indicus - Bar-headed goose

Anseriformes - Waterfowl

Antilocapra americana - Pronghorn

Anura - Frogs and toads

Aplysia californica - California sea hare

Archilochus colubris - Ruby-throated hummingbird

Arthropoda - Arthropoods

Artiodactyla - Even-toed ungulates

Aves - Birds

 

Interesting post. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...